Week 1 – Day 4

Phil. 3:8 But moreover I also count all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse that I may gain Christ.

2 Cor. 4:16 …Though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

Suffering is the lot of all the inhabitants of the earth…. Some people imagine that if you believe on the Lord and live in His fear, you will be immune from all ills, yet numbers of Christians are grievously afflicted, and some who live in vital touch with God are in constant suffering. (CWWL, 1957, vol. 3, “The Living God and the God of Resurrection,” p. 17)
The suffering [in Philippians 3:8] is for the gaining of Christ. (Life-study of Job, p. 119)

Today’s Reading

[Looking into this problem of suffering], in my early days … I was only able to draw these conclusions from my studies: (1) Man is prone to error; therefore, suffering is necessary for his correction. (2) Suffering is needful if we are to comfort others, for only they who themselves have suffered can truly help other people. (3) The discipline of suffering is essential if we are to acquire endurance [cf. Rom. 5:3]…. (4) Suffering is inevitable if we are to be molded into vessels that will be of use to God.

These four conclusions that I came to in my youth are all correct, but they come short of the mark. The ultimate object of all suffering is the accomplishment of God’s eternal purpose. That purpose has been revealed to us through the Scriptures, but it can be realized in us only through suffering. And its realization involves an experiential knowledge of God not only as the living God but also as the God of resurrection.

Every saved person [has] some evidence that God is the living God, but comparatively few of the saved realize that the God who dwells within them is the God of resurrection. If the distinction between the living God and the God of resurrection is not clear to us, many problems will arise in our experience as we seek to press on. Let me explain this distinction quite simply.

With the incarnation a dispensation began in which God and man, man and God, were blended into one…. But the incarnation is only one-half of the mystery. The other half is the resurrection….The incarnation brought divine content into human life; the resurrection brought human content into divine life. After the incarnation it was possible to say, “There is a man on earth in whose life there is a divine element.” But not until after the resurrection was it possible to say, “There is a God in heaven in whom there is a human element.” That is the meaning of the resurrection.

But why do we stress the distinction between the living God and the God of resurrection? It is because while the living God can perform many acts on man’s behalf, the nature of the living God cannot blend with the nature of man. When, on the other hand, the God of resurrection works, His very nature is wrought into the nature of man…. Even when the living God has performed some act on your behalf, after that act as before it, He is still He, and you are still you. His working on your behalf does not impart anything of His nature into you. The living God can work on behalf of man, but the nature of the living God cannot unite with the nature of man. On the other hand, when the God of resurrection works, He communicates Himself to man by that which He does for him.

The primary purpose of suffering in this universe, particularly as it relates to the children of God, is that through it the very nature of God may be wrought into the nature of man [cf. 2 Cor. 4:16]….Through a process of outward decay, an inward process is taking place that is adding a new constituent to our lives. (CWWL, 1957, vol. 3, “The Living God and the God of Resurrection,” pp. 18-20, 24)
Further Reading: CWWL, 1957, vol. 3, “The Living God and the God of Resurrection,” ch. 3